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Archeologie laat de dieren spreken = [Archaeology makes the animals talk]
Ervynck, A. (2012). Archeologie laat de dieren spreken = [Archaeology makes the animals talk]. Tijdschr. Geschied. 125(4): 476-487
In: Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis. Amsterdam University Press: Amsterdam. ISSN 0040-7518, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    It is clear that Human-Animal Studies have to take into account changes over time. Our attitude towards e.g. domestic animals cannot be studied without understanding how this aspect of human behaviour evolved through time, or how domestication started in prehistoric times. As a consequence, historical sources alone are insufficient to accomplish this task. Archaeology, and more precisely the study of animal remains from archaeological sites, is extremely important, especially since the data it supplies has not been recorded by humans (as is always the case with historical sources). This information is thus unbiased and allows us to approach the former human-animal relationship from the point of view of the latter. Traces on animal skeletons showing trauma or pathology, characteristics allowing reconstruction of growth rates and ages at death, chemical signals revealing dietary patterns and pollution: all such data document the individual animal’s life. These observations can (with some caution) be translated into statements about former animals’ well-being. In this way, animals finally get an independent voice in the Human-Animal debate.

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